Tonight's episode of Ear to the Ground features a segment on the celebration of Multicultural Christmas; a family who diversified, establishing a free-range turkey and pig enterprise and features one of Ireland’s few remaining Hedge Layers.
As the Irish economy grows, one of the biggest problems facing businesses is the lack of labour available to them, and it's no different for farmers.
As an economy, we are reliant on people moving to Ireland to work here. But for many, integration into small towns and villages can be difficult.
Cahir in Co. Tipperary has a population of 3,500 people, and a third of them are non-Irish born and are drawn from 40 different countries including Zimbabwe; Brazil; and Poland, to name a few.
In December, the town held a festival of Christmas as part of a Together Ireland initiative, to celebrate all the different cultures.
Darragh McCullough spent the day in Cahir meeting people from Ukraine and China working in the dairy and horticulture sectors while enjoying the delights of the Multicultural Christmas.
Winter is the time of year when landowners think about tidying up their hedges. Many do this using hedge cutting machinery, but there is another way - hedge laying - the very old craft of cutting hedgerow stems partly through so that they will bend without breaking and continue to grow.
On a cold, bright day in December Ella McSweeney travelled to Tinamuck, Co Offaly to meet one of Ireland’s few remaining Hedge Layers - Eamonn McLoughlin - and learned how to lay a hedge herself.
Clive Clarke grew up on a mixed farm in Dunkerrin in Co. Offaly. When he finished school he trained to be a butcher and worked locally, but in 2010 the shop closed and Clive was left with tough choices to make - to take his young family and emigrate, or try to find a way to make a living in a country deep in recession.
Clive decided to stay, and looked to the family farm as a life-line. The answer was diversity. Now, 8 years later, Clive is running a highly successful farm business selling his own free-range turkeys and pigs into the Christmas market at a premium price.
Helen Carroll went to visit Clive at Ashgate Farm to learn the secret to his success.
Ear to the Ground - produced by indiepics for RTÉ - broadcasts on RTÉ One on Thursdays at 8.30pm and repeats at 13:10pm on Sunday. Please note that there will be no ETTG programme on December 27th; the series will continue with programme 9 on Thursday, January 3rd 2019 at the new time of 7pm.
Image source: TVPR